Nombre de Dios is a small town of about 5,000 residents in the southeastern part of Durango, Mexico. Founded in 1562, it is the oldest town in Northern Mexico. It is designated as one of Mexico's Pueblos Mágicos.
The town was founded by Franciscan missionaries along the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. The Franciscans established their mission with the building of a new church dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle in 1556 by Fray Gerónimo de Mendoza. Mendoza conducted the first mass in the name of God, which was adopted as the growing town's name. Four more churches would be built in the town during the viceregal era and today, the five can be visited as part of an interesting walking tour of the town.
The town is known for its waters, even though most of the state is dry and rocky. Several springs around the area feed small streams that are tributaries of the nearby Tunel River (Rio Tunel). Near the town are impressive waterfalls and cypress swamps. The springs also provide mineral waters for nearby spas and feed several public pools.
Valle del Guadiana offers one daily direct bus from Durango to Nombre de Dios at rates from M$50 to M$200 (depending on demand). Tickets for the 1-hour ride can be purchased online through the Estrella Blanca website.
You can also catch a Valle del Guadiana bus to Nombre de Dios from either Sombrerete or Zacatecas. The trip from Sombrerete is also one hour and prices range from M$160 to M$250 (depending on demand).
- 1 Omnibus de Mexico (Nombre de Dios bus station), Fray Gerónimo de Mendoza 212, Zona Centro (MEX 45 (Carr.Durango-Nombre de Dios at C. Victoria)), ☏ +528007656636. Don't expect much, it's a small town. Basically just a ticketing office where buses stop on the street to let passengers on and off.
Nombre de Dios is 2-1/2 hours by car from Zacatecas. It is a direct route northwest on federal highway MEX 45 for 240 km. The town is 1 hour southeast of the state capital city Durango on MEX 45.
A car will be handy for exploring parks and spas outside town. Taxis are also available.
- 1 Parroquia de San Pedro Apóstol (Church of St. Peter the Apostle) (corner of C. Zarco and C. Bravo, across from Plaza de Armas). Historic church built in 1556, 6 years before the town's founding in 1562. Originally a Franciscan mission, now a parish church.
- 2 Plaza de Armas, C. Francisco Zarco 351-451. This is the town's main square. It's built around a central grandstand and often has vendors setting up food stands (particularly on weekends, when weekend visitors arrive from the state capital or from Zacatecas.
Several other colonial churches from the age of the viceroys can be found around town. These churches include:
- 1 Cascadas el Saltito (Saltito Falls) (12 km north on MEX 45, then right on a park access road for 4 km). Beautiful waterfall with 3 dramatic 20-meter high waterfalls that cascade over the precipice in unison. After a heavy rain, a 4th downspout opens up. This waterfall is a cherished symbol of the state of Durango and is often visited by day trippers from the state capital. There's a 5.2 mile out-and-back trail that's wide, easy, and can make for a pleasant 2-hour walk through the cypress swamps along the Mezquital River (it's also a good trail for running or mountain biking). Free.
Nombre de Dios is known for its spring-fed waters and there are spas and pools in and near town where you can soak in mineral waters or enjoy a cooling swim.
- 2 Balneario la Villa de Nombre de Dios
- 3 Balneario Villa Real
- 4 Uraján de Luna Hotel Boutique & Spa - nice hotel rooms, about M$2300 per night, located a couple km north of town center
- Feast of St. Peter the Apostle - June 24
- Anniversary of the Founding of Nombre de Dios - September 30
- Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe - December 12
- 1 Gorditas Doña Aleja, C. Francisco Zarca 453, ☏ +52 6758780172. 09:00 - 17:00. Gorditas are a favorite dish in this part of Durango and locals swear that the late Doña Aleja made the tastiest gorditas in town (the restaurant is now run by her daughter, using Mama's original recipes). The gorditas are spicier than at most places, and this small business has built up such a reputation that they advise you to call at least 3 hours before you want to pick up your order.
- 2 Glorieta, Calle, Fray Gerónimo de Mendoza S/N (south side of town on MEX 45), ☏ +52 6751131308. 09:00 - 17:00. Traditional homemade Mexican cuisine. Quick service and good for a hearty, cheap meal. M$150.
- 3 Maria Bonita, Prof. Octavio Martínez Álvarez Col, Gilberto Reyes, ☏ +52 6751038588. 12:00 - 22:00 (closed Monday). Family run restaurant and bar. Burgers, chiles rellenos, enchiladas and more.
- 4 Cafe Chile Morron, Fray Gerónimo de Mendoza, El Santuario (on MEX 45 near the Pemex), ☏ +52 6751007279. 15:00 - 23:00. Casual traditional restaurant. Steak, pizza, enchiladas, tacos.
The town has become quite well regarded for its artesanal distilleries producing a range of interesting mezcals that vary substantially from their brethren in Oaxaca.
- 1 Mezcal Madre Tierra (south side of town on MEX 45 about 50 meters from Av. Lazaro Cardenas), ☏ +52 675 102 0798. 08:00 - 20:00. Hand-crafted batches of a mild-flavored artesanal mezcal. The mescalero is happy to talk with visitors, offers tastings of his product, and will sell bottles directly to visitors.
- 2 Mezcal el Chipilon (Vinata Mezcal Artesanal “El Molino”), on the south side of town on MEX 45, near the interchange. 09:00 - 18:00. Artesanal distillery where over 30 species of agave are grown and a wide variety of mezcals are produced. The knowledgable staff enjoy talking about mezcal production and conducting tastings for curious visitors.
- 3 Mezcal Cuero Viejo, Nixtalpan (on MEX 45 on the north side of Nombre de Dios, near the Urajan de Luna Hotel), ☏ +52 6181569577. 09:00 - 18:00 Sa,Su (closed M-F).
- 4 Mezcaleria Don Juan, C. Francisco Zarco 501, Nombre de Dios. 10:00–15:00, 16:00-18:00, 22:00-00:00. Cozy tasting room with several mezcals to choose from.
- 5 Destilados Vino Mezcal de Aguascalientes, Pdte. Saúl González Hernández S/N, Ejidal (south side of Nombre de Dios), ☏ +52 6181518391. 10:00 - 18:00. Very small artesanal distillery. You can see the entire facility and process at a glance.
- 1 Hotel Ofelia, Fray Gerónimo de Mendoza 308, Zona Centro (Frente a Caja Progreso y Oxxo), ☏ +52 675 878 0065. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Clean, comfortable hotel with off-street parking lot. Convenient location in the heart of the town, 2 blocks walk to main square.